At first I didn’t even notice. Whenever I stayed over at Theo’s there was this chair by my side of the bed with clothes draped over the back. I didn’t touch it. To be honest, I didn’t even process it was there. That was until one day Theo asked me if I wanted the clothes.
I was perplexed at first. “Why would I want your clothes?” I asked him. They’re not mine, he said. They’re hers. And by hers, he meant his ex whom he had been with for eight long years.
As they say, ignorance is bliss. In that moment I went from being completely oblivious to the chair filled with clothes to having it burn away at me, fuelling the aggression in my gym sessions, interrupting my meditation practise, distracting me at the office. When we met Theo said they’d been broken up for 5 months. Then why would her stuff be strewn about his flat as though she were there last week?
For the record, I don’t believe they broke up 5 months ago. Well, 6 if you count the fact that we’ve been together for over a month at this point. According to his Instagram feed, he’d visited her hometown – a plane ride away – as recently as April. But still, let’s say they ended things in April. Her stuff should still not be present like that after what’s now been a good 3 almost 4 months.
The clothes are still on the back of that chair and now a pair of nude panties have started peeking out of the pile. It makes me cringe. Maybe it wouldn’t if I weren’t the jealous type. But I don’t think you have to be the jealous type to be bothered by another woman’s knickers sitting two feet from your head every night.
Oh but wait, there’s more. Last weekend I was helping him pick a shirt to go to a party hosted by a friend of mine at a very trendy nightclub. When we went into his wardrobe, I discovered that half of it was her clothes. I’d never noticed before, because I am a big proponent of one’s right to privacy. Dresses, fancy ones, plain ones. Workwear. Tops. It was like J.Crew in there. Even a picture of her and another girl were mounted in the closet. I lost it.
At this point I felt as though I was living in the graveyard of his relationship with her.
I point blank told him I needed him to get rid of her stuff. “Well what should I do with it? Sent it back?” he asked. “YES”, I said. If he didn’t want to do it, I would. But I don’t want to. It’s not my problem. Why should I waste a second of the time that I do not have packing her shit up? Why did she leave it in the first place? Was it an excuse to stay in touch? Did their relationship end so badly she felt that she had to forfeit it? From my experience Theo is fairly harmless.
Let’s go over the specs of their breakup anyway. They were together for 8 years. Four years in she was unable to find work in London so she moved back to her hometown in another European country. That brings us to 2014. According to Theo, that’s when the relationship should have ended. It didn’t. He consistently cheated on her instead and was just an all-round shit boyfriend. This carried on for FOUR YEARS.
She was in and out of London, he was in and out of her city. I have yet to ask him, but I’d like to know why this never resulted in an engagement. He was 38 when they broke up, she was 31. That’s a pretty clutch time to get things on lock-down. Perhaps he did propose but I’m not aware. That said, he’s been quite honest with me about the whole affair – no pun intended. He told me she did break-up with him and not the other way around. He could have lied about this crucial detail. But that said, is her stuff still lingering because he was hoping for a reconciliation?
There are two more things I should mention here. 1. When I first visited his flat, there were photos over her everywhere. On the shelves, on the fridge. The second time I came by they were mostly gone. Except for one in a folding frame with three panels and some wedding tat, that I ended up asking him to remove the other day. They were making out in one of the frames. 2. Early on for some reason he showed me the last conversation they had on WhatsApp. It was something about the fact that his mother got her opera tickets for Christmas. In June. And that his mother was trying to contact her to make arrangements to see the show but the ex didn’t want to tell her they’d broken up. She was asking him to tell her. Yeah, there’s all sorts of things going on there I really have no desire to breakdown.
She didn’t have a picture in this chat – this means she either never uses WhatsApp or she’s blocked him. Given this is Europe, I’m going to go with the latter. Oh and her name was listed as “THE ONE”. All caps. What the actual fuck.
Okay fine, that was over a month ago. We’d just met. But what sane human gets into a relationship with a guy that gives his ex a label like that? A totally insane one right? Well, that’s why this site is called Fifty Shades of Cray. I’m over here paying homage to everything we stand for.
Okay so, here we are now. He’s about to give me his key – he already has mine, but only because I’m an idiot that gets locked out on the regular. We’re really serious for such a new relationship. As mentioned, we’re travelling in a few weeks’ time. But I cannot let go of the niggling fact that half his home is filled with her stuff. It feels like it may be a quick fix. I show up with a big box. Throw in all the girly stuff that’s so obviously not mine (her taste is super basic). He writes out the label because I do not want her to get wind of the fact that he’s moved on (if there’s one thing I know, it’s girls – her opinion of him is easy to flip if she finds out he’s moved on). And then get DHL to pick it up. Easy.
But then again, fuck her. She broke up with him. Why should he and I go through the process of putting this box together? Spending what will likely be £100s just so she can have it back in her foreign country. Maybe she should have thought this one through.
All I know is ultimately it’s going to come down to me and my jealousy to fuel the fire needed to get the relics of her and their relationship out the door.
Update: Theo and I discussed their breakup in detail last night. I asked him why they didn’t get married. Don’t worry, it was in context. He said that for him it was never going there. So I asked why she was the one to end it. He said it came down to what’s in front of you at that second. It was there, comfortable and they’d been together for a decade. Breaking up wasn’t something he was good at so he just didn’t do it. But then I pushed about the clothes again. Why was there so much of it still there? He said that when the breakup happened, it was fast. One weekend (yes we have confirmation, it was April) he decided to go to to his hometown instead of hers and she didn’t take it well. She ended their relationship over it. Ultimately he says the underlying reason she broke it off was because he hadn’t proposed. He was never going to. He stayed in it for all those years because he thought he could pull her up in her life and career to his own level. We all know that’s not how it works. You have to be moving in the same direction to begin with and be there to complement one another.
Although I don’t think there’s reason yet, I felt a huge sense of relief over this talk. Maybe just knowing something is better than nothing that’s put me at ease. Also – and I absolutely could be wrong when I say this – previously I wasn’t 100% sure he wouldn’t get back together with her if she resurfaced. If he was being truthful, that’s fairly unlikely to happen. Also he seems completely loved up around me.
Have I become the girl the LTR guy meets right after his insanely (dysfunctional) LTR and marries right away?
Update 2: “The ONE” turned out to be some dude from his hometown who goes by the name 1-6-1 for date of birth. I’m an idiot.